GOP Wants To Slash Budget by $5 Trillion
April 5, 2011
Yeah, that's $5 trillion. You know, a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money. This particular budget, spread out over 10 years, and slammed in our faces by Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis) has presented what an MSNBC articles refers to as "a nonbinding, theoretical framework for future action in Congress." Which I suppose means: We can talk all we want to, but nobody's going to expect us to actually do anything.
Keeping in mind that the Dems budget is to decrease the deficit by $400 billion over six years.
Of course, it all comes down to: What are YOU willing to cut?
The GOP plan plans for no increased taxes and no changes to federal retirement benefits for people 55 and over (gonna have to get me one of them). I've never understood how you can balance a budget through only spending cuts, but I realized a long time ago that government budgets - of both parties - are extremely creative works of fiction anyway, so perhaps they don't bear much scrutiny.
Of course, they're talking about a possible government shutdown, an idea that doesn't exactly fill me with dread. They can shut it down and it probably won't effect me personally too much, although people expecting federal retirement checks, social security checks and other various things probably will find them delayed. Also note, of course, that although most - not all - federal employees will get sent home without pay, Congress keeps getting their checks. I think perhaps sending all of Congress on an unpaid 3-month vacation would probably solve at least as many problems as it created.
For a few more details about this GOP budget, Ryan plans to convert Medicare health plans into one in which the government makes payments for private health insurance plans (unless you're a current Medicare beneficiary or age 55 and older, in which case you stay in the existing system). This would make Medicare into a sort of voucher system. In other words, the government gives you $X dollars to go toward paying for your insurance plan, say, HAP or AETNA. The problem with this, is of course, that HAP or AETNA or whomever, will continue to increase their rates while the government will continue to give you the same number of dollars. Don't believe it? Oh, you should.
I write a lot about the clinical lab industry and Medicare and how physicians get reimbursed and the physician fee schedule reimbursement is just plain stupid. Basically, physicians are supposed to be reimbursed on a fairly complicated formula related to the economy, but since its creation it's never worked out to where it covers costs even remotely, so every year Congress votes to overrule it (temporarily, of course) and adjust it. Nothing gets done to change the system, they just slap a Band-Aid on it every year and move on. It's a political hot potato and Congress, as we've come to realize, doesn't do anything difficult that might result in them losing their jobs come next election.
Now THERE'S a concept.